A major trope in paranormal romance — and plenty of other types of sagas — lately is the idea that two people are destined to be together, or are "bond-mates." Over at Genreville, Rose Fox does a great job of examining why this idea strays into disturbing territory, by removing free choice and turning romantic relationships into a form of imprisonment.

She writes:

[M]any paranormal romances seem to revolve around the idea of destined partners, much as fantasy epics often revolve around the idea of destined jobs or tasks.

Does anyone else find this idea really disturbing? It's like all the worst parts of arranged marriage with none of the upsides. It throws us back to a time when women were property and there was no divorce. You can't even blame your parents; Fate or Destiny or God has made the choice for you, and you don't get to argue. Initially dislike the other person? Too bad! Fate or Destiny or God has also slipped you a roofie, and you will be so compellingly attracted to your destined mate that your arousal overwhelms your very reasonable concerns.

The whole thing is very worth reading. [Genreville]